Markets & Finance

Accor Lower amid Exec Changes


From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

France

HAVAS gained €0.09 to €4.19. The CEO of Aegis is reported to be open to a partnership with the company. Vincent Bollore holds a 14.06% stake in the UK ad agency, and is believed to be preparing to increase his stake in Aegis to as much as 20%.

ACCOR fell €0.54 to €43.03. The company appointed Serge Weinberg as new chairman and Gilles Pelisson as chief executive in a compromise between feuding factions on the board, the FT writes. The FT article notes Weinberg, the former head of retailer PPR, will in January replace Gerard Pelisson, the 73-year-old co-founder of the company who tendered his resignation as chairman on Monday night.

Germany

VW fell €0.04 to €48.70. The company will remain independent from Porsche in decision making process, and says cooperation with third parties not affected by Porsche's stock buying transactions. VW says an independent special audit will be extended to any further cooperation agreements. The company still sees a €4 billion pretax profit rise by 2008.

MUNICH RE gained €2.00 to €97.50. JP Morgan lifted its target to €115 from €104 as it reiterated its overweight rating. The broker met with the company on Oct. 7, and was told the outlook for liability has not been this good for almost 40 years.

HANOVER RE was up €0.35 to €28.91. JP Morgan lifted its target to €31 from €30 as it sticks to its underweight rating on the shares.

PREMIERE fell €0.11 to €22.61. The company plans to acquire sport channel DSF from EM-TV for as much as €200m, Rheinische Post reports. EM-TV says nothing is in the works on that front.

Italy

UNICREDIT rose €0.06 to €4.63. According to Consob, the stock market regulator, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Verona has sold a 2.465% stake in the company, lowering its holding to 4.99%. The company will complete its takeover of HVB by the end of January, reports Handelsblatt, citing an internal letter to employees.

GEMINA gained €0.22 to €2.50. Italian press reports indicated that Save, the Venice airport operator, has bought a 10.4% stake in the company Save is said to hold a total of 12.5% of the company. Romiti has around 20%, of which 14.85% makes up part of the syndicate pact. Mediobanca holds 11.74%. This news increases the speculative appeal of the company, following reports that Clessidra is interested in the group.

Netherlands

HEINEKEN declined €0.10 to €27.75. UBS downgraded the shares to reduce from neutral on valuation.

LAURUS NV was down €0.18 to €2.99. ING downgraded the shares to sell from hold, with a target of €140.

PHILIPS (PHG) fell €0.18 to €21.62. LG Philips posted a third quarter profit, down from a year ago but up fivefold from the second quarter, on stronger shipments of flat-screen TVs and recovering display panel prices. LG Philips is a joint venture between LG Electronics and the company

Nordic

TELIASONERA was up SEK0.30 to SEK38.00. Alfa's purchase of Turkcell was cleared by Turkish regulators. Alfa will be exempted from a rule requiring buyers of large stakes to make an offer to minority shareholders as Alfa and Cukurova said they will be acting together. The company, which is the second-largest shareholder in Turkcell, says this reflects the lack of transparency in the proposed transaction. The company has two board members in Turkcell and analysts fear the company is now in a weaker negotiating position. Separately, Merrill Lynch upgradeD Teliasonera to buy from neutral, with a SEK43 price target.

AUTOLIV rose SEK1.00 to SEK324.00. Bankruptcy news from peer Delphi was compounded by Dana Corp., which plunged 25% Monday after it announced it is going to restate 2004 earnings as well as the first two quarters of 2005. Dana also withdrew its 2005 guidance and delayed its third quarter EPS release. Meanwhile, GM said the challenges faced by Delphi during its restructuring process create operating and financial risks for the automaker. S&P equity reiterated its strong sell opinion on GM, while S&P Ratings cut its corporate credit rating to BB-.

Spain

ARCELOR (Sp) fell €0.41 to €19.22. The company plans to raise packaging prices by 10% next year because of higher prices of raw materials and transport. It says it failed to recoup rises in power costs after raising its prices in 2005.

ACS added €0.12 to €24.76. The company and partly-owned Abertis are maintaining their ambition to create, together with Aena, a holding that jointly controls 26 airports in order to gain weight in international markets, Cinco Dias reports. Note that bids for handling services in Spanish airports were opened for competition on Monday, with Iberia, Acciona, and FCC among the current players, and Ferrovial and the company entering the market. Separately, Ibersecurities upgraded ACS shares to buy from sell as it revised up valuations for the Spanish construction sector.

Switzerland

ROCHE was up CHF4.50 to CHF188.50. The company's majority owned Genentech (DNA) subsidiary soared in after hours trading in the U.S., after reporting a 56% surge in third quarter net profit, spurred by sales of its cancer drugs.

United Kingdom

CABLE & WIRELESS (CWP) fell £0.03 to £1.16. The shares retreated on reports that Morgan Stanley has placed 14 million shares at £1.17.

MARKS & SPENCER added £0.13 to £3.97. Citigroup sees fiscal 2006 consensus pretax profit rising to £715 million (EPS of 29.7p) from a range of £630 million to £705 million. Dresdner says the second quarter was always viewed as a critical quarter for Stuart Rose and it seems the new advertising campaign and new ranges are working. The broker placed its hold recommendation on the shares and £3.55 target price under review. Seymour Pierce upped the shares to hold from underperform. The company reported second quarter UK Retail sales +3.3% (General Merchandise +0.4%; Food +6.3%); UK Retail like-for-like sales +1.3%. It sees pretax profit before exceptionals for the 26 weeks to Oct. 1 at or around the upper end of market expectations. The numbers beast analyst expectations.

BAA was up £0.03 to £6.29. Dresdner KW remains unimpressed by current earnings trends, and forecasts volume and earnings growth of 3% in fiscal 2006. The company reported a 3% year-over-year rise in passenger traffic at its 7 UK airports in September, to 13.5 million, an improvement on July and August growth. It notes North Atlantic returned to growth (+3.1%), while other long haul routes recorded a collective increase of 8.6%. European scheduled traffic was up by 4.2% but European charter traffic was again weak. Traffic at Heathrow and Gatwick rose 1.4% and 2.9% respectively. The numbers were in line with forecasts

MAN GROUP declined £0.50 to £15.47. The company will respond to charges in the U.S. of contempt of court submitted by the receiver for Philadelphia Alternative Asset Management (PAAM), a failed U.S. hedge fund, within two to three weeks, the FT reports. The FT notes the company said it would offer full assistance with any inquiry into the relationship between its U.S. brokerage unit, Man Financial, and PAAM.

Prepared by European MarketScope reporters Zaida Espana (France), Michael Sanderson (Germany), Mariella Mongio (Italy), Alexander Wisch (Netherlands), Holly Cook (Nordic), Emma Stevenson (Spain), Pawan Girglani (Switzerland), and Rocio Opazo-Aniotz (UK) Prepared by European MarketScope reporters Zaida Espana (France), Michael Sanderson (Germany), Mariella Mongio (Italy), Alexander Wisch (Netherlands), Holly Cook (Nordic), Emma Stevenson (Spain), Pawan Girglani (Switzerland), and Rocio Opazo-Aniotz (UK)


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